Sunday, September 18, 2011

147/365 -- Playlist Story -- inspired by "Plug In Baby" by Muse

FYI that song title is misspelled. It should be "Plug-in", based on the context of it's usage in the song.

Three young men stared at the device, lying on the floor of their dorm room, atop a tangle of electrical cords, her naked limbs straight and rigid.

"Is it on?" asked Jeff.

"I don't know," said Scott. He nudged it in the face with a socked toe.

"It says here," said Matt, pointing to large unfolded sheet of instructions printed in 17 different languages, " that it's voice activated. If it's holding a charge we should be able to talk it to get it to, uh, do stuff."

"What do we say?" asked Jeff.

"Uh, try this," said Matt. He pointed to a tiny line of print.

"I can't see what that says," said Jeff. "Why do they have to print it so small? Friggin Swedes. Just a sec. Let me get my glasses." He rooted through the stacks of papers and academic cruft on his desk and found a scratched pair with thick lenses. He put them on.

"Why don't I say it?" asked Scott.

"It's my, um, toy," said Jeff. "Hands off."

"You might want to keep some Purell around..." said Matt. "Just in case." Jeff laughed.

"Hey!" said Scott.

"Okay, so this line here," said Matt pointing again. Jeff mouthed the words silently.

"Really?" said Jeff. "That's something I would say to my grandmother."

"Just say it, okay? I want to see what this thing can do."

"Fine," said Jeff, then he straightened his posture, looked down at the figure, and enunciated, "Hello, darling."

They waited a few seconds. They leaned in.

"Did it work?" asked Scott.

Suddenly, she spoke, but her mouth moved slower than her syllables.

"他妈的我更难," she said. The men all jumped back.

"Wait, what was that?" asked Matt.

"Chinese, maybe?" said Scott. Jeff scratched his head.

"Let me try again," said Jeff. "Hello...darling!" He spoke louder and clearer, almost chomping on his consonants.

"Hello," she said. Again, her mouth moved out of sync with her words.

"Well okay, that's English at least, but what's next?" asked Jeff. He and Matt scanned the instruction sheet.

"It says here it's supposed to prompt you through the setup process," said Matt.

"How though?" asked Jeff.

"Hello...DARLING," said Scott.

"Hello, master," she said.

"Hah! See?! She recognizes me as master!" said Scott with a big grin.

"Yeah, big accomplishment," said Matt.

"Would you, like to, give me, a name?" she said in choppy cadence.

"YES," said Jeff and Scott together.

"Please say name now," said a deep male voice.

"Oh no," said Matt. "That just sounds wrong."

"What should we name her?" asked Scott.

"Thank you, master for, naming me, 'Ohno'," she said, with the last word a parroted recording of Matt's voice with an overlay of static. Jeff and Scott stared at Matt.

"Don't look at me! They need to write these instructions better!" said Matt.

"Idiot," said Jeff.

"Would you, like to...set the time?"

"Why would you need a clock in one of these things?" wondered Scott.

"No," said Matt.

"Please say the time now," said the male voice.

"What? NO." said Jeff.

"I'm sorry, I did, not understand, your answer. Please repeat, your answer."

"NO. No we would not like to set your clock," said Jeff, getting a bit annoyed.

"The time, is now set, to seven...AM."

"That's not the right time," said Scott.

"No, we DO NOT want to set the time," said Jeff.

"I'm sorry, I did, not understand, your request. Please repeat, your request."

"I can't believe they licensed this technology from Apple," said Matt. "This is worse than trying to get a real girlfriend."

"Would you, like me, to be, your...girlfriend?"

"Uh, yes," said Jeff.

"There are other options?" whispered Matt.

"You have, to say, my name."

"Ohno, yes," said Jeff.

She was still and silent. The men leaned in over her again.

"What the hell?" asked Jeff.

"This is stupid," said Scott.

"Hello, OHNO," said Jeff. There was silence. He clapped his hands loudly next to her face.

"Maybe her ears aren't up there," said Matt.

"What?" asked Jeff. "Of course she has ears--"

"I meant the microphone," said Matt. "Let me see if it's indicated anywhere on the diagram."

"I am, fully-charged, master. Please unplug me, so we, can play."

"Oh. No okay," said Jeff.

He crouched under his desk to reach for the cord, but was struggling through the tangles and the small space.

"Thank you, for"

She pulled up her legs, sat up, then stood up in a distinctly non-human, not very wobbly way. The cord tightened.

"Wait," said Jeff.

She stared blankly at Scott, and put her arms around his neck.

"Ohno, wait," said Jeff.

"Ohno, yes," said Scott, smiling.

She opened her mouth into an O shape and wiggled her tongue.

"NO, wait! I can't quite reach the--"

Scott leaned in, closed his eyes, opened his mouth wide, and touched his saliva enrobed tongue to hers.

Sparks flew from the electrical socket, the lights flickered then went dead, Scott lurched backward and fell on a pile of magazines, his heart stopped. She collapsed to the floor and twitched and jabbered violently before going silent.

Jeff stood up. Matt let the sheet of paper drop from his hands and flutter to the floor.

"Oh, no," said Jeff and Matt together.

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